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The story of Fosca Gori 4.3

From a walk on the site of "Villa Huxley"

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After having phoned Fosca on several occasions, we finally met in the middle of summer at the house she still owns, not far from La Gorguette. It is not common to imagine someone’s face after having seen it in photographs taken almost seventy years ago. On the latter photographs Fosca was a beautiful girl in her twenties, and even now she still showed certain elegance, even dressed in simple clear coloured sport’s clothes. I found her to be much taller and thinner than I had imagined, unlike her mother in the photos. She was still wearing on her finger the ring Maria had given to her mother ages ago and that she had inherited.

The conversation naturally rolled on the Huxleys, but also on her own life, which seemed serene at the evening of her existence. After a brief moment I sensed very well that she had been expecting this moment for a long time, the moment she would discuss her youth spent in the presence of those famous people whom the world had talked about for so long. Without boasting or exaggerating she was simply proud of the chance she had had to have been blessed by the presence of people like Maria and Aldous, adding that although very young she sensed the privilege of it. In her heart and mind Maria Huxley was still alive, Fosca loved her the same way as when she confessed it to her mother seventy years ago.

One warm evening of August we walked down to the seashore to visit the site of this once deserted stretch of land between La Gorguette and La Pointe de la Cride. We stopped in the Allée Thérèse where once stood ‘Villa Huxley’, now a vacation centre for the pupils of the French National Ministry of Education. We asked the young director permission to visit the garden. To him and the young women of the staff Fosca narrated her story while showing me around. She was moved because the place bore now little resemblance to what it was before, but Fosca managed to describe how it was at the time, and talk about the persons who had once lived there, as if they had left only a few years ago, certainly not as far back as 1937! The young staff had always been intrigued by the plaque at the entrance, so they valued this unexpected visit for they now knew the importance the writer and his wife had in the hearts of some, after Fosca’s moving story telling.

And Fosca went on and on; the description of the garden, the coloured fields of sweet-peas, the ever perfumed house, the famous picnics in the garden and the beach parties with the inflatable rubber boat, […] ‘We have made an amusing acquisition this year in the shape of a rubber boat (used as a collapsible life-boat in aeroplanes), in which one can row very efficiently in quite a rough sea – but whose charm is that one can lie in superlative air-cushion comfort and take sun baths, rocked in the cradle of the deep. Deflated, it folds up in a small hand-bag and one can take it out to explore small streams, isolated lakes etc. A most entertaining toy.’
‘Your loving son, Aldous’ 37

Maria‘s mirrored room where she danced to keep a gracious line (she had once been a student of Daghiliev), the Siamese cats. Charlotte Woolf the palm reader who came to read everyone’s hand palms, the quiet atmosphere where none was authorised to raise the voice when Mr Huxley was working; ‘Once a member of a Royal Family came and even he was not allowed to disturb Mr Huxley. But Mr Huxley spoke to us all the time! When Mme Huxley was gone he would eat with us in the kitchen and tell us stories and stories… He and Mme Huxley even came to our place for Erasmo “Première Communion”, and the day of my “Certificat d’Etude” when Mme Huxley came with my mother to pick me up with the Bugatti at the school without telling. When I said I succeeded my mother and Maria herself were so proud of me! Oh mon Dieu!’


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